Cookbook for a great presentation

November 16, 2007

I recently gave a talk about communicating in science. Hoo boy, if I had only known about this slideshow by Alexi Kapterev (view the whole show via the link below).

Two of the “money slides”:

1) What is it about repetition by threes? Maybe my neurobiology buddies can tell me. All I know is it works.


2) A great presentation

  1. conveys with enthusiasm why it’s important
  2. is built with repeated elements
  3. each of those elements is simple, uncluttered, and catchy
  4. is so well rehearsed it seems spontaneous.



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Why your best idea may never see the light of day

November 14, 2007

From the late, great Creating Passionate Users.


In place of “fear”, you may substitute “committee meeting”.

Good design does not save bad content

November 13, 2007

You’ll often hear me pitch the idea

Quality = content * design

I do this to emphasize the importance of learning the basics of design. This is, after all, blog aimed at scientists. Scientists generally have to be convinced that design is important; they are all over content, obviously. When great content is combined with great design, the results are wondrous to behold.

Which brings us to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Lots of money, and, apparently, some pretty good designers. All in the service of some questionable ideas, science-wise. If you haven’t yet seen this place, John Scalsi has a fantastic post introducing you to it, with a link to a flicker gallery, nicely annotated. It was at his gallery that I clipped this little gem.


Whoa nelly.

Scalsi, a science fiction writer, has a keen eye for just how bad this place is. His post also demonstrates that one of the best ways to fight ignorance is with humor. And the soul of humor is…repetition:

Here’s how to understand the Creation Museum:

First, imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we’re not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we’re talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem, from the flyblown chunks at the perimeter, down into the heated and decomposing center, generating explosive levels of methane as bacteria feast merrily on vintage, liquified crap. This is a Herculean load of horseshit, friends, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Augeas.

And you look at it and you say, “Wow, what a load of horseshit.”

h/t Boing Boing

John Scalsi at Creation Museum

5 ways to screw up your talk

November 10, 2007

ra-ra-ra.jpgSo, bubby, you’ve been tagged to give a seminar. How often do colleagues turn their undivided attention for one hour to your view of the world? What an opportunity to talk about your work and polish your personal brand!What can you do to impress your audience and leave them wanting more?

Well, it’s Friday night, a martini awaits, so I’m turning this one over to Dr. Mephisto… Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Friday

November 9, 2007


big big h/t to Bill Watterson